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Why Are Space Heaters Dangerous?

Space heaters can be dangerous for several reasons. They are generally safe when used properly, but improper use can lead to a number of problems. Here are some of the main dangers associated with space heaters:

Fire Hazard

The leading cause of space heater fires is placing the heater too close to objects that can burn – things like furniture, drapery, and clothing. Major fires can result quite easily from an ignition sparked by a space heater left unattended. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), space heaters are involved in 43% of home heating fires every year.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Certain types of space heaters that use propane, kerosene, and natural gas come with the additional risk of releasing carbon monoxide if not properly vented. Unlike gas or propane furnaces and fireplaces, their space heater counterparts aren't vented to the outside, and so they can release harmful gases into the air that include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide, all of which can cause symptoms including headaches, coughing, sleepiness, and even death.

Electric Shock

If space heaters are not functioning properly, they can cause electric shock. This is particularly a risk with older models or heaters that have not been properly maintained.

Safety Tips for Using Space Heaters

Despite these risks, space heaters can be used safely by following some simple guidelines:


In conclusion, while space heaters can be a convenient way to supplement your home's heating system, they should be used with caution due to the potential dangers they pose. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and safety guidelines when using a space heater.

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